Ellicottville cover

Explore Ellicottville

Ellicottville offers the perfect combination of outdoor adventures, boutique shopping, craft beverages, and delicious dining.

I like to think of Ellicottville as Skaneateles‘ more outdoorsy cousin. The main attraction in Ellicottville is the Holiday Valley Resort, which offers skiing, tubing, and snowboarding during the winter season. The resort offers an 18-hole golf course and mountain biking in the summer.

It’s a two-hour drive from Rochester to Ellicottville, whether you take the New York State Thruway or wind your way through the scenic, rolling hills of Wyoming, Allegany, and Cattaraugus Counties.

I prefer taking different routes when traveling to and from Ellicottville. For instance, I sometimes add 30 minutes to my trip by stopping for breakfast at the Elm Street Bakery in East Aurora. Other times, I extend my trip by 30 minutes by driving through Letchworth State Park on my way home. On some occasions, I’ll eat breakfast on the road so that I can enjoy Griffis Sculpture Park before reaching Ellicottville.

As a fun aside, when I saw the letters EVL and E-Ville in various places around town, like 12 Gates of EVL and E-Ville Spirits, it took a minute to internalize that it is an acronym for Ellicottville, not evil.

Best of Rochester - Day Trips Around Rochester book

Day Trips Around Rochester, New York

Best of Rochester Award-Winning Book for Best Published Literary Work of 2023.

Plan Your Day Trip to Ellicottville

Washington Street is the main street through the charming mountain village of Ellicottville. The intersection of Monroe Street and Washington Street is the backbone of the entertainment district.

According to Wikipedia, “In lieu of numbered or standard street names, most of the village’s streets are named after presidents and first ladies of the United States from prior to 1828: (George) Washington Street, (Thomas) Jefferson Street, (John) Adams Street, (James) Madison Street, (James) Monroe Street, Martha Street (alluding to Martha Washington and/or Martha Jefferson Randolph), and Elizabeth (Monroe) Street. (Martin) Van Buren Street and (Millard) Fillmore Avenue were later additions to the grid.”

Breakfast

Dina’s and Katy’s Cafe are excellent breakfast choices, open early in the morning.

Griffis Sculpture Park bathers lying down
Griffis Sculpture Park open area
Little Rock City in Rock City New York State Forest
Little Rock City in Rock City New York State Forest
Little Rock City

Morning

Begin your day by taking a walk outdoors, choosing a leisurely stroll through Nannen Arboretum, a fanciful climb through Griffis Sculpture Park, or an exciting hike through Little Rock City.

Nannen Arboretum is a lovely eight-acre Japanese-inspired arboretum that features over 200 trees and bushes and several themed gardens. Enjoy a stroll around Lake Nipponica on the paved 0.25-mile Kingston Nature Trail.

Griffis Sculpture Park is a whimsical, fantastical, delightful art park in bucolic Cattaraugus County, roughly nine miles north of Ellicottville. There are over 250 large-scale sculptures integrated into the natural landscape. Some are out in the open meadows, while others are tucked into the woodlands. Founded in 1966, Griffis is the country’s first and largest sculpture park.

Little Rock City in Salamanca’s Rock City State Forest, 15 minutes south of Ellicottville, is free to explore. You could spend 20 minutes or two hours wandering through the boulders, some as large as houses. Exploring a rock city is an adventure like no other. Walking among the boulders feels like being on a city street among skyscrapers. Little Rock City is one of four rock city parks clustered in New York State’s southwestern corner. Each site has an individual creation story going back to when a vast, shallow inland sea covered the area, affected over time by continental drift, glacial activity, and mountain building.

Ellicottville The Gin Mill

Lunch

There are several excellent options for relaxing after your morning adventures. You can’t go wrong choosing to enjoy a meal at The Gin Mill, Balloons Restaurant, Madigan’s, Monroe Street Brick and Brew, or Hidalgo Grill Mexican Restaurant.

Alternatively, explore the menus of the numerous bars and taprooms, like Ellicottville Brewing Co., 12 Gates of EVL, Ellicottville Tap + Bottle & Taqueria, Finnerty’s Taproom, Steelbound Brewery & Distillery, or a light cheese and charcuterie pairing at the Winery of Ellicottville.

Ellicottville Kazoo II
Ellicottville Daff drygoods boots shoes
Ellicottville Purple Doorknob
Purple Doorknob Ellicottville

Afternoon

Enjoy all the unique independent shops along Washington and Monroe Streets. Choose from nearly 1,000 colorful socks at the Purple Doorknob to fit your personality. Then, see what unique treasures you can find at Kazoo II, Gado-Gado, Alexandra, and Ava Grace Fashions.

Enjoy a sweet treat from Watson’s Chocolates or Cupcaked Bakery and a hot beverage from Ellicottville Coffee Co. while you explore the village.

Take a free, self-guided tour of the Ellicottville Historical Museum on Saturdays from 1–4 p.m., June through September.

Alternatively, you can continue your outdoor adventures at the Sky High Adventure Park at Holiday Valley. The Aerial Park is the largest in New York State and the third largest in the country, covering a five-acre section of the woods. The Climbing Forest is a 3-D version of a climbing wall that enables you to climb as high as 40 feet. In addition to these two activities, the park also offers a mountain coaster, gem mining, chairlift rides, and mountain biking.

Dinner

Sit down to an early dinner at Silver Fox Restaurant & Steak House, Villaggio, or West Rose before heading home for the night.

Signature Events

Learn more about current events by visiting ellicottvilleny.com before your trip.

Ellicottville’s Mardi Gras Weekend Celebration

Early March

Ellicottville’s Mardi Gras Weekend Celebration is a lively and whimsical winter event that unites locals and visitors in a colorful parade through the town’s business district. This family-friendly affair, part of Holiday Valley’s Winter Carnival, encourages creative costumes and themed floats while prohibiting alcohol in the parade. The festivities, including the Saturday evening parade and events at Holiday Valley Resort, promise a vibrant celebration for all to enjoy.

Summer Music Festival

Early July

Ellicottville’s Summer Music Festival has become a cherished tradition for July 4th weekenders, offering a vibrant three-day musical celebration in the village and on a slopeside venue nestled within Holiday Valley Resort. The festival features diverse performances, ranging from musical theater and classic rock ‘n’ roll to captivating renditions by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Jazz & Blues Weekend

Late July

Ellicottville’s Jazz & Blues Weekend is an annual event that turns the delightful town into a center for multiple Jazz and Blues performances. The performances are held in various venues, including restaurants, bars, and street-side stages, and they are entirely free. The event boasts over 20 musical acts that cover four blocks, providing a car-free, self-contained atmosphere. In addition to the musical performances, Jazz & Blues Weekend features workshops, contests, and craft vendors, making it a well-rounded experience for everyone.

Rock N’ Roll Weekend

Mid-September

Rock N’ Roll Weekend is an annual free end-of-summer celebration that has been taking place for over 20 years. Throughout the weekend, 15 regional bands perform at outdoor stages, bars, and restaurants over a four-block radius. In addition to live music, the event also features a car and truck show on Sunday, showcasing more than 200 vehicles—a rare sight in a business district. Attendees can also watch a vintage pinup contest—a fashion show encouraging attire themed on trends from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.

Fall Festival

mid-October

Holiday Valley’s Fall Festival offers a weekend filled with family fun, including scenic chairlift rides, mountain-top cookouts, music, vendors, and arts and crafts. Most activities occur between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Google Map of Locations

View the map separately here.

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Where are your favorite places to visit in Ellicottville?

Your insights and experiences are valuable. Please share them in the comments.

Debi Bower, Day Trips Around Rochester NY

Debi Bower is the founder and creative director of daytrippingroc.com and author of the award-winning book Day Trips Around Rochester, New York.

People often ask me if I get free access to places while exploring. The answer is no unless I’m invited to previews or granted behind-the-scenes access as part of my media role. Generally, I don’t mention my project, Day Trips Around Rochester, NY, because I want the same experience you would have. I create and share content simply because it brings me joy. I would appreciate your support—a cup of coffee or two to help fuel future field trips—if you have found valuable information here that has helped you explore the Rochester area.

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